"United States readies for ‘big one" as Hurricane Florence approaches Carolinas

TD Bank

TD Bank

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

As of 11 p.m. EST, the storm was centered 280 miles east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and was moving northwest at 17 mph.

Hurricane force winds can be expected up to 70-miles from the center of the storm, and tropical storm force winds can reach up to 175-miles.

Considering this extreme slowdown in forward motion will take place so close to/over the coast, tropical storm force winds may be felt from Wednesday night to Saturday, and hurricane force winds from Thursday night to Saturday along the SC/NC coast.

Officials in at least one area that ordered an evacuation will be going to homes to ask people planning to ride it out for information on their next of kin, CNN reported Wednesday.

More than 60 people, including an infant, children and their pets, were rescued from a collapsing hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at the height of the storm, according to the Associated Press.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections says some prisoners were moved in a Pee Dee facility ahead of Florence's approach toward the coast. The storm will bring dangerously high amounts of rain, forecasters say.

The threat has sparked a rush of evacuation efforts in SC and North Carolina, with more than a million people urged to get out of Florence's way. "We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able".

The storm is now expected to make landfall in the lower Outer Banks of North Carolina early Friday morning or possibly stay in the ocean before making a shift to the left toward SC.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit", he added. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.

Abigail Darlington, covers the city of Charleston for the South Carolina Post and Courier.

People who thought they were safe from the onslaught of Hurricane Florence began boarding up and Georgia's governor declared a state of emergency Wednesday as uncertainty over the path of the monster storm spread worry along the Southeastern coast. "Everyone was sold out", she said.

Florence will bring large rainfall totals through Saturday in North Carolina, north SC and Virginia, causing catastrophic flash flooding.

"The big picture: There are several characteristics of the changing climate that are helping to increase the risks of damage from Hurricane Florence, even though global warming is not directly causing such a storm to spin up".

In the first report of storm-related fatalities, a mother and infant died after a tree fell on a house in Wilmington, North Carolina, according to local police. In South Carolina, Beaufort County Emergency Management Division Commander Neil Baxley told residents they need to prepare again for the worst just in case.

At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other storms, Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac.

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